Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, who was kidnapped earlier this week in his home country of Venezuela, has been rescued alive, government officials said.
Ramos, who took over the Nationals’ catching duties as a rookie last year, had returned to his native country to play a brief schedule of games in the Venezuelan winter league when he was abducted from his home by four gunmen on Wednesday and whisked away in their 4×4 vehicle.
No ransom demands had been made and Gustavo Marcano – agent for the 24-year-old ballplayer – said the family had no communication from the kidnappers after the abduction, The Washington Post reported.
The 24-year-old baseball star was found in mountains near where he was seized, the Washington Post reported, with his rescue also confirmed by his agent Gustavo Mercano.
“Baseball player Ramos was found alive by security forces in the mountain region of Montalban,” Information Minister Andres Izarra said in a Twitter message.
The country’s Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami confirmed the announcement minutes later.
“With a lot of joy, we would like to announce that an operation to rescue Wilson Ramos was completed several minutes ago,” El Aissami said in a telephone call to a local television station.
Five men were arrested in the kidnapping, including a Colombian “linked to paramilitary groups and to kidnapping groups,” Aissami added.
According to ABC news, Ramos said he was happy and thankful to be alive, and that the final moments of his rescue operation were “hair-raising” as police and the kidnappers exchanged heavy gunfire in the remote mountainous area where he was being held.
“The truth is I’m still very nervous, but thanks to God, everything turned out well,” Ramos told Venezuelan state television, speaking by telephone after arriving at a police station in his hometown of Valencia early Saturday.
Wilson thanked the police and National Guard commandos who rescued him, saying “the boys did a great job.”